Warm up with a delicious Spiked Apple Cider Cocktail this fall ... this easy recipe is the perfect autumn treat and super simple to make!
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Is there anything more inviting than a mug of hot apple cider on a cold fall day?
We used to go apple picking every year when I was a kid, and we never left without a big jug of apple cider. My mom would heat it up with cinnamon sticks once we got home, and it was always my favorite fall drink.
This Spiked Apple Cider is the adult version of that drink. It's full of warm autumn flavors, smells amazing, and I truly can't get enough! As far as I'm concerned, there isn't a better way to warm up on a chilly fall day, especially if a cozy blanket and fireplace are also involved!
Best of all though, this yummy Cider Cocktail is quick and simple to prepare. Keep reading for all the details, then make yourself to a cup today!
This cider drink uses basic ingredients that are easy to find. Here's what you'll need:
- Apple Cider
- Cinnamon Sticks
- Heatproof Mugs (Like these Glass Mugs.)
If you have an apple orchard nearby, stop in and pick up a gallon of fresh apple cider. It's always the best! Choose a plain, un-spiced variety for this recipe. If you can't get to an orchard, store bought works perfectly fine.
This is a really quick and easy recipe, so I stuck to cinnamon sticks for the seasoning. If you have other whole spices on hand, feel free to use them, too. You'll find more ideas below.
As far as alcohol goes, you have a few options. I used my favorite Puerto Rican rum, but other types of liquor (such as whiskey or brandy) will also work. See my tips below, then choose your fave.
What alcohol is good with apple cider?
Apple cider pairs really well with dark spirits, like rum, whiskey, bourbon, and brandy. However, you can also combine it with other spirits, liked Vodka (regular or flavored) or even Mezcal or Tequila.
Here are some ideas:
- Rum - Apple cider and rum are natural partners, as far as I'm concerned. When I was testing this recipe, I used Ron del Barrilito 2 Star Rum (their 3 Star Rum is even better). It was a fun way to use one of my favorite Puerto Rican rums!
- Spiced Rum - This drink would also be delish made with Spiced Rum. Try it with Don Q Oak Barrel Spiced Rum.
- Whiskey / Bourbon - My second choice for this cocktail is whiskey, another dark spirit that complements the flavors of cider. Everyone has their favorite whiskey, but if you're not sure where to start, try it with a classic, like Jameson, Bulleit, or Makers Mark.
- Brandy / Cognac - Since it's distilled from fruit, brandy and apple cider are also great partners. Try this cocktail with E & J, a good budget-friendly brandy, or use an apple brandy, like Laird's. If cognac is your spirit of choice, I'd go with a less aged, more affordable bottle, like Hennessey V.S. and save the pricier stuff for sipping.
- Vodka - While vodka won't add much flavor to this Hot Apple Cider Drink, you could use it in a pinch. Flavored vodka, other the other hand, is a great way to spice up this recipe. Try experimenting with a Vanilla or even Salted Caramel vodka.
- Other Ideas - A lot of people like Fireball with cider, but it has a strong flavor, and it's probably going to burn going down ... making your cocktail more boozy than cozy! I'd recommend experimenting with other bottles in your liquor cabinet, like tequila or mezcal, instead.
Apple Cider Cocktail Variations
I kept this drink super simple so you could whip up this Spiked Cider at a moment's notice. Other whole spices, such as allspice, cloves, or star anise, would be welcome additions. You could also a couple orange slices or slices of fresh ginger.
Keep in mind, too, that this drink isn't super sweet (as long as you use plain cider). For a sweeter drink, can add maple syrup or honey to taste.
How to Make Spiked Apple Cider
Okay, let's talk about how to make this delightful drink, because it couldn't be easier!
You'll start by combining the apple cider and cinnamon sticks in a small saucepan. If you're using other whole spices or ingredients like orange slices (see my tips above for recipe variations), add them now, as well.
Bring this mixture to a boil, then reduce the heat to a simmer. Continue simmering the mixture for about 10 minutes or until the flavors combine.
Tip: this is one of those recipes that you can keep on the back burner to enjoy all day on a cold afternoon. Just keep the heat low, or combine the ingredients in a crockpot to keep everything warm.
After about 10 minutes, remove the cider from the burner. Then, add your choice of alcohol (see my tips above) and stir. I prefer to use rum or whiskey.
If you're also serving kids or someone who doesn't drink, then add the liquor by the glass. This recipe serves to two to three people. So if you're splitting it between two people, you'd add 1.5 ounces of alcohol per glass. For three drinks, add 1 ounce of liquor per glass.
Tip: to serve more people, just double or triple the recipe. Easy peasy!
I like serving this drink in heatproof glass mugs, because they show off the beautiful color of the Spiked Cider. However, any mug will do.
You really don't need a garnish for this laidback drink, but a cinnamon stick and apple slice certainly add to the cozy vibe. Cinnamon sticks do sink though ... I had to use a little trickery to prop mine up like that. Don't say I didn't warn you!
However you serve this wonderful cocktail, I know that you're going to love it just as much as me. Cheers!
After you've made this hot Apple Cider Cocktail, try one of these delicious seasonal drinks next:
Looking for something else? You can find all of my cocktail recipes here!
Spiked Apple Cider
- 3 cups apple cider
- 2 cinnamon sticks
- 3 ounces rum or whiskey
- Combine apple cider and cinnamon sticks in a saucepan.
- Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a low simmer. Cook for 10 minutes.
- Remove cider from heat, then add rum or whiskey.
- Ladle into glasses and serve hot. Enjoy!
This recipe is also available as a web story if you'd like to see a quick overview of the steps.